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Solar + storage ‘flexible’ microgrid installed at Colorado auto dealership for outage protection

Extensible Energy Microgrid diagram

Extensible Energy announced the installation of a microgrid at Ehrlich Toyota auto dealership in Greeley, Colorado. IPOWER Alliance of Lyons, CO developed the project and needed a way to provide flexible load control under all microgrid conditions without the usual high electrical expense. Instead of designing the microgrid with several tiers of critical load subpanels, IPOWER Alliance designed and installed a 300-kWac SunPower PV system with SMA inverters and a 228-kWh Dynapower energy storage system with an Ageto microgrid controller. In addition, it installed Extensible Energy’s new product, DemandEx for Microgrids, which integrates with a microgrid controller to manage and optimize energy usage when off-grid or on-grid.

When using the DemandEx for Microgrids software to manage large flexible loads within the facility, there is no need to rewire panels or to permanently designate loads as “critical” or “non-critical,” said Extensible Energy. Therefore, businesses can use the software to power more productive loads during blackouts while maintaining or extending the battery capacity. As a result, more of Ehrlich’s sales and repair departments are now able to remain in operation during grid instability.

Typically, solar-plus-storage microgrids can only back up devices that are wired to a critical loads panel, due to the lack of capacity. With DemandEx’s solar forecasting, PV monitoring, load analysis and intelligent management of flexible loads, the microgrid’s critical and select loads are intelligently managed, and demand peaks are shaved during on- or off-grid conditions.

Instead, DemandEx assesses the available power in real-time, then automatically reduces load to meet the available solar and battery capacity.

Diane Dandeneau, CEO of IPOWER Alliance, stated, “I chose Extensible Energy because of its innovative, software-driven approach to situational control. We get full backup of the entire facility when solar production is high and automated control of large energy subsystems like HVAC as the battery picks up the load. And the same software provides demand-charge management and TOU arbitrage when we’re connected to the grid, which adds significantly to the bill savings.”

John Powers, CEO of Extensible Energy, added, “With DemandEx for Microgrids, developers have a powerful new tool for the management of load shapes behind the utility meter. It’s far easier and more cost-effective to size microgrid equipment for facilities with smooth, regular load profiles than for those with large demand spikes.”